As you may have heard our friends at Verve Poetry Press won the prestigious Michael Marks Publishers’ Award for their series of experimental poetry pamphlets . Hot on the heels of this win they have published Clive Birnie’s sequence of 24 poems, Palimpsest as the latest in the series.
Palimpsest explores a near future where mundane meets magical, truth blurs into fiction and digital and analogue collide. These are poems that are made rather than written in the conventional sense. Poems that are built from scraps of text appropriated from magazines, junk mail, ephemera; erased, redacted, cut up and overwritten with original lines to create palimpsests. The title is thus both a creative technique revealed in the visible lines of construction and an eponymous anti-superhero in whose steps we follow as she emerges from a collage of fractured narratives and cinematic dispatches from a dark and murderous hinterland, kicking ass and causing mayhem.
‘I’m frightened of this book. I’m frightened of its truth. I’m frightened of its beauty. I’m frightened it is making me talk about truth and beauty. Most of all I am frightened to know that its poetic ideas convince me that a million dead dreams live on in the blood of such extreme imaginative thought, ready to consume me.’
Susan Bradley Smith. Poet & playwright, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Curtin University, Australia.
‘An exhilarating experiment in form and ideas. I was reminded of Max Porter’s Lanny; with Birnie’s anti-hero Palimpsest a sort of Dead Papa Toothwort character gathering scraps and sounds of our contemporary landscape at a furious pace. A very exciting collection.’
Lyndsey Fineran. Cheltenham Literature Festival